What your wedding day is really about (or) professional wedding photographer’s advice to bride and groom

Bride in dressing room of Overture Center is having a private moment before the first look with groom


// professional wedding photographer’s advice to bride and groom

So I am at the recent wedding. Doing, you know, my thing- wedding photojournalism and stuff. I’m hanging out with the bride and her friends. Ladies are about to be done with getting ready. Emily and I are about to head out for the first look with Andrew (her future husband to be).

At one moment Emily looks me in the eye and says “I’m very nervous. I’m really really  nervous.”

I pause for a second. I look at Emily. I know I need to respond. What do I say?

“Well Emily…” I begin slowly…


I often ask myself what it’s all about. You know, what wedding day is about? How people see it? I mean technically it’s a ceremony where two people or a couple are united in marriage. But what else?
Timeline? Shoes? Dancing? Friends and family? Tears? Laughter? Beautiful weather? Princess dress? Helluva amazing party? All the love in the world? 5 tier wedding cake? Bartender that makes best Old Fashioned in Midwest?

A nice mix of everything?

Does anybody ever think about a wedding day as just a day? Like just another day in life? Expensive one, but just another day. Not a day filled sugarcoated with fairy tales and princesses, but a day filled ordinary people. Imperfect ordinary people.

Wedding dress will get dirty. Sparkly sandals won’t be nearly as comfortable as initially anticipated. DJ will get drunk. Wedding pictures outside won’t happen because of rain. Best man will get into fight at the after party. Food will be served cold. Mother of the groom will turn into momzilla. Stressed out maid of honor will take too much Valium. Limo driver will get lost in downtown after football game traffic Armageddon.

And when imperfect real people will look back into their wedding day 5 years from now, they, hopefully, will laugh at all those small things that went wrong. Because it’s just life. And life happens. And it’s happening right now. And we’re breathing it in.

And we often get so obsessed about the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey. We discard those small little imperfections that happen to us we find along the way as a bad thing. And yet these imperfections, these small bumps in the road is what the journey is about.

So here’s my professional wedding photographer’s advice to bride and groom: Live in the moment. Take it all. Enjoy every little bit of it.


So I look at Emily and give most honest yet (hopefully) comforting advice that I can give as a true wedding photojournalist: “Emily, there’s nothing wrong with being nervous. It’s an intense moment you’re about to experience. So it’s OK to be nervous. Heck, it’s event OK to be REALLY nervous. Who wouldn’t be nervous in this situation? I know you’ll be fine. I know you’ll get married today. So, enjoy the being nervous part. Enjoy every little uncomfortable moment of your wedding day. Because that’s how life is- an exciting journey filled with lot’s of uncomfortable, and yet amazing, moments. Now let’s go find the man and let’s get you two married.”

And off we go to find her man.


how Amy and Jason’s did it right: family backyard wedding madison wi

people are giving high-five after drinking alcohol shots out of the ski shot at the family backyard wedding Madison WI

Amy and Jason both been in the restaurant and food industry for well over a decade. Having spent so much time in the food industry they’ve made friends with incredibly talented people- bartenders, chefs and other service professionals. And when Jason proposal and when Amy said “Si Señor”, they knew right away they had themselves plus a pool of incredible people to draw from to help put their family backyard wedding Madison WI together.
However the fact that the couple managed to put a nice helping team for their DIY family farm wedding in rural Wisconsin didn’t mean Amy and Jason will sit back, relax and enjoy wedding preparation show. I knew these two for quite a few years now, and I knew how dedicated and restless and hard working they both are. It was clear from the very beginning that everybody will work hard, including Amy and Jason, to make that wedding day unique and awesome.
When I showed up at the hotel on their wedding day there were signs all over the room indicating all hard work while putting that wedding together. Jason was still wearing dirty clothing as he spent his morning at the family friend’s farm doing final wedding preparations. Amy was talking about all types of sausage they made (classic Wisconsin brat, spicy Andouille and a German Leberkäse) night before at their friend’s commercial kitchen.
Amy and Jason got married at the bottom of small hill under the big tree. Jason’s brother was the officiator. Wedding ceremony was nice, short and sprinkled with few smiles and few tears.
Real cheese cake made of variety of cheeses was the way to go for dessert. Somewhat unusual, but it really shouldn’t be. Wisconsin is America’s is dairyland after all.
Due to the fact that big percentage of guests were from food/restaurant industry and most of family folks seemed to be pretty straight forward party animals I had my own expectations for the reception part. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Booze helped people to celebrate life for many centuries. But add a ski shot that Brian and Grant from Death’s Door Spirits distillery brought along, and you got yourself another level of fun.
Dance floor at this family backyard wedding Madison WI was bouncing; people were enjoying fresh September night and outdoor garden illuminated by with candles, LED’s and torches.
Bottles were passed around on our way to after party in Maduro cigar bar later that night. We closed the bar, i walked them back to the hotel, and took pictures of them making out in the dark.
Amy and Jason they did their homework indeed. No slacking. No corner cutting. Everybody on Amy and Jason’ had on their team were dedicated in making this family backyard wedding Madison WI special. It was an exciting day for everybody.
See more pictures from this DIY family farm wedding here.


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